Smart Meter Update Meetings in Northern Suburbs of Melbourne

Northern Metro Meetings

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Manual meter reading fees

The Australian Energy Regulator has published the submissions it received on the proposed manual meter reading fee to come into effect in April 2015. As well as the submissions from the five power distributors on what they would like to be allowed to charge customers who have refused a smart meter, there are 13 submissions from individuals/groups and one submission from Energy minister, Russell Northe.

The submissions from individuals and groups are spirited and well thought through.  Minister Northe’s submission is confusing at times, as he commences with scathing criticism of cost blow-outs by some of the distributors and then, on page 14, voices concern that AusNet Services is not proposing to charge customers for a manual meter read.  Minister Northe urges power distributors that “it is important that customers are suitably incentivised to accept the installation of a smart meter”.  (Take away the positive spin and you’ve got, “it is important that customers are suitably penalised for refusing the installation of a smart meter”.)

AER will make a decision on the proposed manual meter reading charges by 31 October, 2014.

To read the submissions from all parties click on any of the distributors listed below and then click on ‘Proposal’ near the bottom of the new screen.

AusNet Services

CitiPower

Jemena

Powercor

United Energy

 

 

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Smart meters can be hacked!

In two recent international reports it is claimed that the smart meters being installed can be hacked to achieve various goals.  Aims of hackers could range from under-reporting a property’s bill, fooling the system into billing one property for the neighbouring property’s electricity consumption, shutting down a smart meter, or shutting down the electricity to an entire city.

As one report states, the consumer is legally helpless to do anything about their meter being hacked because the power distributors have exclusive rights to install, service and remove the meter.  Customers are at the mercy of the power distributors having the motivation to investigate alleged hacking.

And since the smart meter is located some distance from the power distributor’s site, for all their talk about being able to remotely fix supply problems, it seems that fixing hacking from a distance is not necessarily something that the distributors can brag is in their skill set.

‘Security flaw found in mandatory smart meters’, Consumer Affairs

‘Smart meters can be hacked to cut power bills’, BBC news

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A smart meter cost blowout threatens to add up to $520 more to many power bills – Herald Sun

Electricity giant AusNet Services plans to ask for a forecast $350 million extra from hundreds of thousands of customers over the next 15 years.

It overspent $70 million last year, and wants to pass on most of it. And it forecasts a further $280 million blowout by the end of next year.

It has applied to increase next year’s charges for the most common smart meter to $208.87 plus GST — $51.27 more than had been approved.

It blames the cost blowout on a public revolt against meter installations, government reviews that delayed the rollout, and major information technology system faults.
AusNet Services covers 670,000 customers in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and the state’s east and northeast.

The smart meter rollout, ordered by the Labor government and continued by the Coalition after a review, is already costing Victorian households and small businesses a total of about $2.4 billion.

The Australian Energy Regulator, which allows excess expenditure claims to be passed on to consumers only if costs are “prudent and efficient”, has rejected previous technology cost-recovery attempts from AusNet Services.

The Consumer Action Law Centre said that unreasonable cash grabs had to be resisted.
“This company seems to have continual blowouts in expenditure, and expects consumers to foot the bill,” spokesman Gerard Brody said.

Jemena’s proposed smart meter charge for next year is $231.28, $11.38 more than previously approved. United Energy wants to charge $160.44, down $4.58 on previous plans.

Proposals for a $115.49 CitiPower and $108.96 Powercor fee are lower than forecast.
The regulator is reviewing the company’s requests.

Documents submitted to the regulator reveal United Energy overspent $53.5 million last year, and Jemena $25.7 million. But they said their total project costs and charges remained close to budget because of earlier lower-than-expected spending.

Karen Collier, Herald Sun

Via: A smart meter cost blowout threatens to add up to $520 more to many power bills

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Sweden: Let Professor Johansson continue crucial work!

Ceccatelli, Ingvardsson and Garmager at Karolinska Institute, Sweden: Let Professor Johansson continue crucial work!

Why this is important

The Karolinska Institute for the second time wants to reduce the space allocated to the brilliant Olle Johansson, Associate professor, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in order to down-size his work.

Professor Olle Johansson’s scientific work is impeccable. He possesses huge capacity, competence and brilliance as a world-renowned scientist and researcher into electromagnetic radiation (EMF/EMR) and its adverse health effects. He is helping millions of people world-wide. ( See as an example of his work, the recent scientific paper at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25205214 and this presentation

And yet, Karolinska, the cradle of the Nobel Prize, wants to reduce his work space. Karolinska’s decision can therefore only be an acting on behalf of the obvious interests of the telecom industry to shut up one of the most truth-seeking and incorruptible EMF/EMR researchers and critical voices in the world. Because Olle Johansson’s research documents without any doubt that the products of the telecom industry i.e. mobile phones and other Wi-Fi -based technology gadgets generating microwave radiation into the bodies of pregnant women, fetuses, baby’s, children, the young, old and sick are indeed disastrous to the health of mankind.
Sandra Ceccatelli (Department Chair ), Christina Ingvardsson (HR Administrator ), Åsa Garmager (Head of Administration ) – are apparently responsible for this decision.

Sign this urgent AVAAZ petition and ask Karolinska to give back the work space allocated to Professor Olle Johansson so he can continue his extremely important EMF and EHS research.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Professor_Johansson

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ELECTROSENSITIVITY – HAS SOCIETY LOST ITS MORAL COMPASS?

An ignored emerging global health, civic and human rights crisis

The following article raises some fundamental issues about how electrosensitive people are being treated around the world and is likely to become a burgeoning issue for Governments, health officials and the general public.

http://mieuxprevenir.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/the-electrosensitive-when-waves-ravage.html

While a number of countries recognize EHS (Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity) Australian authorities including government ministers, ACMA, ARPANSA and the Chief Health Officer of Victoria are using the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) claim that EHS is not a medical diagnosis as an excuse for inaction. This inaction is further demonstrated by many of the aforementioned parties continued refusal to formally investigate whether smart meters are causing Victorian’s to experience health issues. Instead technical studies are performed using Australia’s inadequate RF standards as a defensive wall to validate their claims of safety and appear to be hoping that if they ignore electrosensitives for long enough, they will simply ‘go away’.

With some scientists such as Örjan Hallberg and Gerd Oberfeld suggesting that up to 50% of the population could have EHS by 2017, this is not an issue that is likely to ever go away especially as wireless devices are become more pervasive in our everyday lives.

EHS prevalenceThose with EHS are finding that our increasingly electrified environment is becoming unbearable. They are being forced out of society as accessibility to public places becomes severely restricted because of health issues resulting from exposure to unwanted and non-consensual RF exposure, particularly to digital wireless transmitters (WiFi, Smart Meters, Smart Phones, Mobile Phone Towers etc.) Affected people are left with no choice but to abandon their homes and seek refuge in safe EMR free zones all around the world known as “white zones”. We even have people in Australia actively seeking to establish white zones as indicated in this linked story. http://electroplague.com/2014/09/21/ehs-refuge-in-australia-people-needed/

Recognition of the dangers of EMR as well as EHS by other countries around the world:

Australians with EHS have no such recognition and support. They are often condemned to suffer alone as relationships breakdown with the impacted individual(s) having no choice but to move from their family homes. If they go public with their condition, they are likely to be ridiculed or disbelieved. In some cases they may be bullied by the medical community into accepting medication, a psychiatric assessment and/or confinement. Many studies have been performed over the last 70+ years in relation to the effects of EMR and yet only environmentally trained doctors appear to be aware of EHS.

Accessibility, a key issue highlighted in the rights of the disabled states that everyone is entitled to have accessibility to their world and to earn a living without obstruction to the normal supports and public services that the community can access. Unfortunately for EHS suffers, accessibility to the following places is seriously compromised:

  • Shopping centres with mobile phone towers installed on the roof, free WiFi installed and emitting throughout the complex and smartphones everywhere operating WiFi, Bluetooth and 4G signals.
  • Hospitals, which should be providing an optimum environment for healing and recovery have a multitude of wireless devices
  • Doctor and Dentist surgeries that have WiFi, Bluetooth headsets etc.
  • Hairdressers, sporting facilities, beaches, public parks that have mobile phone towers situated nearby or offer public WiFi access
  • Schools with industrial strength WiFi which is often tightly integrated into the core network and so cannot be switched off
  • Neighbourhoods – cordless phones , WiFi, smart meters, mobile phone towers etc.
  • Cities – City-wide WiFi, mobile phone towers, non-stop emissions with no escape
  • Work places

For those who are unfortunate enough to be EHS, Australia is not the “lucky country”. Most of the time, they are denied access to adequate and dignified medical care. Many doctors are unaware of the condition as formal training does not cover this area of human health. This lack of awareness can lead to a high chance of misdiagnosis and the prescription of inappropriate medication. Moreover, access to all types of medical treatment is often thwarted due to the high levels of man made radio frequencies present in these environments that are supposedly dedicated to healing. Many hospitals now have masts on top of them which seems to be an outrageous contradiction.

Australian children who are electrosensitive lose their right to be educated in a safe and healthy environment. Virtually ALL Australian primary and secondary schools now have Wi-Fi installed without any due consideration to those parents who don’t want their children irradiated.

The message from industry, government and governmental agencies is clear:

Electrosensitve Australians do not appear to have the same worth as human beings as other Australians. They are acceptable collateral damage in order to support technical innovation and increased profits.

Can we as a society accept the marginalization of 3-5% (and growing) of our population, simply on the basis of a medical impairment? Is this consistent with the values we want to uphold as a community, let alone with our human rights?

SSMA is committed to sending a strong message to people with EHS:

WE VALUE YOU

YOUR LIVES MATTER

YOU DESERVE A BETTER DESTINY

Please view this video testimonial of Australian EHS sufferer Dr Alexander David McDonald:

SSMA will be looking to effect change by improving public awareness and raising this issue directly with the authorities who are empowered to address this serious issue.

 

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Telstra’s Flawed Wifi Hotspot Plan: Short Term Gain for Long Term Pain

Sourced from Finance and Investment for Good

Australian Telco Telstra this week announced plans to roll out the first 1,000 sites of 500,000 WiFi hotspots across Australia. Having last year paid $1.3 billion to secure two 20 MHz spectrum blocks in the 700MHz band and two 40 MHz blocks in the 2.5GHz band, Telstra plans to spend just $100 million to establish what will effectively be an alternative network to 3G and 4G spectrum.

On the surface the plan makes commercial sense, enabling Telstra to push consumers to use WiFi for downloads, allowing 3G and 4G spectrum to be used for high value customers. But has Telstra thought through the consequences of establishing its WiFi hotspot network? And perhaps more importantly, where is the response from Government and regulators?

There are very real concerns as to the long term health impacts of mobile and wireless radiation. On 31 May 2011 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.

The concern from medical practitioners about the health impacts of radiation from mobiles and WiFi led to the establishment in 2007 of the BioInitiative Working Group. In a similar way the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which reviews the emerging science on climate change, the BioInitiative Working Group produces a regular BioInitiative Report, with the latest 2012 report reviewing around 1800 new studies reporting bioeffects and adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields and wireless technologies.

The BioInitiative Report, which is prepared by 29 authors from ten countries – ten holding medical degrees (MDs) and 21 PhDs, considers the emerging research on the effect of radiation on immune function, stress responses, brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, childhood cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, fertility and reproduction effects, fetal and neonatal effects and autism.

The rapidly changing research environment has led the BioInitiative Working Group to update its work on a regular basis. On 16 April 2014 it stated “evidence for health risk from wireless tech is growing stronger and warrants immediate action. New studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumors from cell phone use.”

For such an emerging public health issue there is remarkably little attention paid by governments on the public health impacts of mobile and wireless radiation. There are number of potential reasons for this including the undoubted complexity of the subject.

The strong commercial interests that corporations have means that it is unlikely that we will see independent commercial research funding examining the risks of mobile and wireless radiation. This wasn’t always the case. Up until 2006 when Telstra closed its Telstra Research Laboratories making several hundred staff redundant, Telstra was a strong supporter of telecommunications research, a legacy of its government ownership.

Devra Davis, founder of the Envionment Health Trust and author of The Secret History of the War on Cancer is proposing that to address the gap in independent research that one dollar from the sale of every phone would be used to train physicians, biomedical researchers and engineers and provide independent research funding, and support monitoring and evaluation of the potential impacts of cell phones and other wireless transmitting devices on health.

Davis is also arguing for a review of the regulations around mobile and wireless radiation, noting that in the U.S that “the last national survey on exposures to electromagnetic fields in America took place in 1980. Standards for cell phones were set 18 years ago. Would you fly in an airplane that met old safety standards?” The criticism of the current regulatory standards is that they are measuring the wrong thing, focusing on measuring heating or thermal effects, and not biological effects.

There is no doubt that it is uncertain what the impact of a 500,000 WiFi hot spot network on public health would be. However the emerging research on health impacts means that we shouldn’t just go forward blindly. Before Telstra is allowed to proceed with its WiFi hotspot plan it is imperative that a public inquiry is conducted. This should not be conducted by existing regulatory bodies but by the Federal Parliament.
The benefit of a parliamentary inquiry is that the evidence of the inquiry, both verbal and written, is available for all Australians to read. It would also ensure that instead of outsourcing to regulators that politicians become engaged in considering the risk to public health from mobile and wireless radiation.

Such an inquiry should take the opportunity to examine whether Australia’s regulatory standards for mobile and wireless radiation are appropriate for the modern era. Should Telstra proceed with its WiFi hotspot plan it is likely to encounter resistance that will take many forms, including legal challenges under nuisance laws. Whilst we make our own decision whether we turn on a WiFi router in our own homes, having industrial strength WiFi beamed into our houses when we are not Telstra customers, will mean that Telstra will become the focus of stakeholder campaigns and potentially class actions.

The telco industry has been here before with the roll out of mobile phone towers. The difference between then and now is that technology itself has evolved. WiFi routers that are produced today are far more powerful than ones just a few years ago. We also know far more about the potential health impacts of mobile and wireless radiation.

Telstra may be able to roll out their WiFi hot spot network in the short term. But the ‘cheap’ cost of the rollout needs to be considered against whether the network is actually in the public interest. Acknowledging that there are risks with mobile and wireless radiation does not mean that we stop using this technology. It means that we use it in a smart way that ensures our health is protected. For long term investors, the impact of mobile and wireless radiation will need to become a core part of engagement with telco companies.

Links

The BioInitiative Report

http://www.bioinitiative.org/new-studies-show-health-risks-from-wireless-tech/

http://www.bioinitiative.org/

Devra Davis in the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devra-davis-phd/ready-for-regenerative-me_b_5479827.html

The Secret History of the War on Cancer

The Secret History of the War on Cancer

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